One of the things that Mary Clara and I spoke about over lunch this weekend was the use of mystical systems of various sorts to give structure to a world. The coming of the Scientific Age offered a false promise, or at least a misunderstanding: that if we could only detail our knowledge of how the world works we would then come to know why the world works. But Science can never really tell us the why — and is even limited in the extent to which it can uncover the how.
This is where, in part, the difference between knowledge and wisdom comes in, or, as Roddenberry would have it, Data and Lore. One of the reasons Data was unable to become “human” was the same flaw that undercuts many efforts at AI: there is more to ones life than the abundance of information, and one can have catalogued all of the facts of the world without developing anything resembling a true “self.”
The Scientific Age, and its disciples, have added to our catalogue of facts, but the facts themselves have done little to nourish our souls, which require food that facts alone can not provide. This is not to say that facts do not have their place, and an important place it is. But they will not answer the plaintive question, Why? The atheist may say there is no answer; the agnostic acknowledge an answer may exist, but we do not know it.
I take the Christian answer to be true, as Julian of Norwich put it: “‘Love’ was his answer.” Or as Pascal, a scientist who was also a Christian, said, “L’amour a des raisons que la raison ignore” — Love has reasons of which reason is ignorant. Even a major contributor to the Scientific Age could see that much, I wager.
Tobias Haller BSG